What Gandhi Says by Norman Finkelstein

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Synopsis

The Occupy movement and the protests that inspired it have focused new attention on the work of Mahatma Gandhi, who set out principles of nonviolent resistance during the struggle for Indian Independence, principles that found their echo in Tahrir Square, Puerta del Sol and Zuccotti Park some half a century later.

If there has been widespread recognition of Gandhi’s role in developing the tactics underpinning the revolutionary upsurges of the past year, few have stopped to examine what Gandhi actually said about the relationship between nonviolence, resistance and courage.

Step forward Norman Finkelstein, who, drawing on extensive readings of Gandhi’s copious oeuvre and intensive reflection on the way that progress might be made in the seemingly intractable impasse of the Middle East, here sets out in clear and concise language the basic principles of Gandhi’s approach.

There is much that will surprise in these pages: Gandhi was not a pacifist; he believed in the right of those being attacked to strike back and regarded inaction as a result of cowardice to be a greater sin than even the most ill-considered aggression. Gandhi’s calls for the sacrifice of lives in order to shame the oppressor into concessions can easily seem chilling and ruthless.

But Gandhi’s insistence that, in the end, peaceful resistance will always be less costly in human lives than armed opposition, and his understanding that the role of a protest movement is not primarily to persuade people of something new, but rather to get them to act on behalf of what they already accept as right – these principles have profound resonance in both the Israel-Palestine conflict and the wider movement for justice and democracy that began to sweep the world in 2011
 

About Norman Finkelstein

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Norman G. Finkelstein received his doctorate in 1988 from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. For many years he taught political theory and the Israel-Palestine conflict. Finkelstein is the author of eight books besides this one, which have been translated into more than 40 foreign editions: Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End (OR Books, 2012); This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion (OR Books, 2010, expanded paperback edition, 2011); Goldstone Recants: Richard Goldstone Renews Israel’s License to Kill (OR Books, 2011), Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (University of California Press, 2005, expanded paperback edition, 2008); The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (Verso, 2000, expanded paperback edition, 2003); Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (Verso, 1995, expanded paperback edition, 2003); with Ruth Bettina Birn, A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth (Henry Holt, 1998); and The Rise and Fall of Palestine: A Personal Account of the Intifada Years (University of Minnesota, 1996).
 
Published June 5, 2012 by OR Books. 100 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences.

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